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State Urged To Increase Time For Physical Education

Updated:
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ An advocacy group is urging Oklahoma to double elementary school physical education requirements from 60 minutes to 120 minutes per week. Anne Roberts, executive director of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, told a legislative task force on Tuesday that far too many Oklahoma children are overweight.

She said national authorities on children's health recommend 150 minutes a week for physical education.

A recent national report ranks Oklahoma's childhood obesity rate 17th in the nation. The rate for all Oklahomans is ninth in the nation.

State Rep. Jeff Hickman, R-Dacoma, who was successful in passing legislation last session to establish a Fit Kids Physical Education Task Force, said 37% of Oklahoma's students participate in physical education, compared with a national rate of more than 50%.

Some schools now offer a combination of music, art and physical education for an hour each week.

Lealon Taylor, chief of staff for the state Department of Education, said officials should think about expanding the school year or adding another hour to the school day so there would be more time for such activities.

``Remember, we have one of the shortest school days in America,'' Taylor said.

Superintendent Sandy Garrett also has proposed lengthening the school year from 175 to 180 days.
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